Relationship between postmodernism and analytic philosophy

Postmodernism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

relationship between postmodernism and analytic philosophy

With Hegel, the immediacy of the subject-object relation itself is shown . Nietzsche is a common interest between postmodern philosophers . Lyotard's analysis, especially the analytic of aesthetic judgment (see Kant ). Postmodern philosophy is a philosophical movement that arose in the second half of the 20th Postmodern philosophy questions the importance of power relationships, . of ever-changing relationships (among people and between people and the . Ordinary language philosophy · Postanalytic philosophy · Quietism. isation of philosophy of education into 'analytic' and 'postmodern' schools of real points of difference or disagreement between these contrasting views.

One dispels the illusion by making the grammatical form match the true logical form, and this is done through logical analysis. The idea that language could cast illusions that needed to be dispelled, some form of linguistic analysis was to be a prominent theme in analytic philosophy, both in its ideal language and ordinary language camps, through roughly In truth, there were both significant similarities and significant differences between Moorean and Russellian analysis.

ByRussell, along with Alfred North Whitehead, had so developed this symbolic notation and the rules governing its use that it constituted a fairly complete system of formal logic. The distinction between ordinary-language philosophy and ideal-language philosophy formed the basis for a fundamental division within the analytic movement through the early s.

The introduction of logical analysis also laid the groundwork for logical atomism, a new metaphysical system developed by Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Before we discuss this directly, however, we must say a word about Gottlob Frege. For instance, Peter Hacker notes that Frege was not interested in reforming philosophy the way all the early analysts were: Whether or not this qualifies him as a founder of analytic philosophy depends on the extent to which we see the analytic movement as born of a desire for metaphilosophical revolution on the grand scale.

According to logical atomism, propositions are built out of elements corresponding to the basic constituents of the world, just as sentences are built out of words.

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The combination of words in a meaningful sentence mirrors the combination of constituents in the corresponding proposition and also in the corresponding possible or actual state of affairs. That is, the structure of every possible or actual state of affairs is isomorphic with both the structure of the proposition that refers to it and the structure of the sentence that expresses that proposition--so long as the sentence is properly formulated in the notation of symbolic logic.

Atomic facts are the basic constituents of the world, and atomic propositions are the basic constituents of language. The world is everything that is the case. What is the case, the fact, is the existence of atomic facts. The logical picture of the facts is the thought. The thought is the significant proposition. Propositions are truth-functions of elementary propositions. An elementary proposition is a truth function of itself.

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The general form of a truth-function is This is the general form of a proposition. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. Propositions 1 and 2 establish the metaphysical side of logical atomism: Propositions 3 and 4 establish the isomorphism between language and reality: It is here, incidentally, that we get the first explicit statement of the metaphilosophical view characteristic of early analytic philosophy: Proposition 5 asserts the thesis of truth-functionality, the view that all complex propositions are built out of atomic propositions joined by truth-functional connectives, and that atomic propositions are truth-functional in themselves.

Even existentially quantified propositions are considered to be long disjunctions of atomic propositions. It has since been recognized that a truth-functional logic is not adequate to capture all the phenomena of the world; or at least that, if there is an adequate truth-functional system, we haven't found it yet. Certain phenomena seem to defy truth-functional characterization; for instance, moral facts are problematic. The hope that truth-functional logic will prove adequate for resolving all these problems has inspired a good bit of thinking in the analytic tradition, especially during the first half of the twentieth century.

This hope lies at the heart of logical atomism. In its full form, Proposition 6 includes some unusual symbolism that is not reproduced here. Basically, Wittgenstein is saying that all propositions are truth-functional, and that, ultimately, there is only one kind of truth-function. Principia Mathematica had employed a number of truth-functional connectives: However, in a logician named Henry Sheffer showed that propositions involving these connectives could be rephrased analyzed as propositions involving a single connective consisting in the negation of a conjunction.

Though Wittgenstein uses his own idiosyncratic symbolism, this is the operation identified in proposition 6 and some of its elaborations as showing the general form of a truth-function.

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Saying is a matter of expressing a meaningful proposition. Thus, as Wittgenstein observes at 4. Hence the famous dictum at 6.

My propositions are elucidatory in this way: He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it. He must transcend these propositions, and then he will see the world aright. Though meaningless, the propositions of logic and mathematics are not nonsense. They at least have the virtue of showing the essential structure of all possible facts. On the other hand, there are concatenations of words, purported propositions, that neither show nor say anything and thus are not connected to reality in any way.

Such propositions are not merely senseless, they are nonsense. Among nonsense propositions are included the bulk of traditional philosophical statements articulating traditional philosophical problems and solutions, especially in metaphysics and ethics. Thus, as he claims in 6. The correct method in philosophy would really be the following: Logical Positivism, the Vienna Circle, and Quine a. Logical Positivism and the Vienna Circle Logical positivism is the result of combining the central aspects of the positivisms of Auguste Comte and Ernst Mach with the meta-philosophical and methodological views of the analytic movement, especially as understood by the ideal-language camp.

In all its forms, positivism was animated by the idealization of scientific knowledge as it was commonly understood from at least the time of Newton through the early twentieth century. As twentieth-century philosophy of science has shown, the definition and demarcation of science is a very difficult task. From the standpoint of scientism, these are not fields of knowledge, and their claims should not be regarded as carrying any serious weight. With Wittgenstein, the logical positivists concluded that the bulk of traditional philosophy consisted in meaningless pseudo-problems generated by the misuse of language, and that the true role of philosophy was to establish and enforce the limits of meaningful language through linguistic analysis.

The Vienna Circle began as a discussion group of scientifically-minded philosophers—or perhaps philosophically minded-scientists—organized by Moritz Schlick in Its exact membership is difficult to determine, since there were a number of peripheral figures who attended its meetings or at least had substantial connections to core members, but who are frequently characterized as visitors or associates rather than full-fledged members.

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It was their views in these areas that combined to form logical positivism. Logical positivism was popularized in Britain by A. Ayer, who visited with the Vienna Circle in To escape the turmoil of World War II, several members of the Vienna Circle emigrated to the United States where they secured teaching posts and exercised an immense influence on academic philosophy.

By this time, however, logical positivism was largely past its prime; consequently, it was not so much logical positivism proper that was promulgated, but something more in the direction of philosophizing focused on language, logic, and science. Ironically, the demise of logical positivism was caused mainly by a fatal flaw in its central view, the verification theory of meaning.

According to the verification principle, a non-tautological statement has meaning if and only if it can be empirically verified. Consequently, it renders itself meaningless. In its strong form given abovethe principle undermined not only itself, but also statements about theoretical entities, so necessary for science to do its work. Quine Willard Van Orman Quine was the first American philosopher of any great significance in the analytic tradition.

Though his views had their greatest impact only as the era of linguistic philosophy came to an end, it is convenient to take them up in contrast with logical positivism. The basic problem for the reductionist project is that many important scientific claims and concepts seem to go beyond what can be verified empirically. Claims about theoretical entities such as atoms also provide obvious cases of going beyond what can be verified by specific observations, but statements of scientific law run into essentially the same problem.

Assuming empiricism, what is required to place scientific claims on a secure, epistemic foundation is to eliminate the gap between observation and theory without introducing further unverifiable entities or views. This was the goal of the reductionist project.

relationship between postmodernism and analytic philosophy

By showing that every apparently unverifiable claim in science could be analyzed into a small set of observation-sentences, the logical positivists hoped to show that the gap between observation and theory does not really exist. Despite being on very friendly terms with Carnap and other members of the Vienna Circle with whom he visited in the early sand despite being dedicated, as they were, to scientism and empiricism, Quine argued that the reductionist project was hopeless.

A proposition is analytically true if the meanings of its terms require it to be true. Such a view was highly amenable to the scientistic, naturalistic, and empiricistic leanings of many early analysts, and especially to the logical positivists. On the assumptions that meaning is fundamentally linguistic and that language is a conventional symbol-system in which the symbols are assigned meanings by fiat, one can explain synonymy without referring to anything beyond the realm of time, space and the senses.

The point is that we have no evidence of this ever having happened. In cases where it appears that someone is making a stipulative definition—as in a dictionary, for example—Quine explains that, far from establishing synonymy, the stipulator is either describing or making use of synonymy relations already present in the language.

After exploring several kinds of cases in which stipulative definitions seem to establish synonymy relations, he concludes that all but one—the banal act of coining an abbreviation—rely on pre-existing synonymy relations. The upshot is that stipulative definition cannot account for the breadth of cases in which synonymy is exemplified, and thus that it cannot be the general ground of either synonymy or analyticity.

relationship between postmodernism and analytic philosophy

However, rather than rejecting naturalism on account of its inability to explain these phenomena, Quine rejects the notion that naturalism needs to explain them on the ground that they are spurious categories.

However, when we attempt to get a deeper understanding of these phenomena by defining them, we cannot do it. Quine explores several other ways of defining analyticity in addition to synonymy and stipulative definition, ultimately concluding that none work. Because none of them can be defined without invoking one of the others, no one of them can be eliminated by reducing it to one of the others.

This brings us to the second dogma. As the language here suggests, viewed holistically, verification is never absolute.

There is no manageable set of observations that will verify a total theory or any of its constitutive claims once and for all. By the same token, observations and observation sentences that may seem to falsify a lone claim do not decisively falsify either it or the theory to which it belongs.

Rather, such observations require only that some adjustment be made to the theory. Ordinary-Language Philosophy Thanks to G.

relationship between postmodernism and analytic philosophy

Smart are all analytic thinkers, and to look for this analysis in traditional continental philosophy is like looking for Prester John. Likewise, it is almost impossible to find analytic philosophers discussing phenomenology. This reveals that these two camps are clearly divergent in emphasis and have different places in philosophy. They have different trajectories, motives, goals, and tools, and must be understood in light of their independent and differing traditions.

The question now is, how did these different traditions come about? One crucial step in his process is the bifurcation between two realms: There is a chasm, says Kant, between what is known in appearance, and what is beyond any possible experience, and so unknowable eg God, immortality, freedom.

The first of these came in the works of G. Hegelfrom whom many of the Continental philosophers of the 20th century directly or indirectly drew inspiration. For Hegel there could be no such division, because he believed all of reality was united in one Idea.

But as the century closed, a second backlash against Kant was brewing both in Cambridge and in Vienna. Moore led the attack in Cambridge, rapidly convincing his colleague Bertrand Russell. Moore insisted on the importance of analysing concepts; Russell, who was a philosopher of mathematics, developed a reductionist approach to knowledge called logical atomism and a general focus on particular logical problems in opposition?

relationship between postmodernism and analytic philosophy

Those in the Vienna Circle instead made the Humean distinction between a priori non-observable and a posteriori dependent on observation truths; and they said that the only truths are either tautological true by definition or empirical verified by observation. Therefore, these two reactions to Kant led to the formation of two distinct schools of philosophy, each with their separate attitude towards metaphysics and epistemology, thus having differing philosophical methodologies and trajectories.

For Heidegger philosophy is, and should be, essentially ontology. This turn toward phenomenology created in Heidegger a distaste for logical analysis in philosophical problems: Meanwhile there were numerous shifts in emphasis in analytic philosophy.

Wittgenstein had developed a theory which saw propositions as logical pictures of states of affairs in the world. This meant that sentences were only meaningful if they painted such pictures. Thus, along with Carnap and the Vienna Circle, Wittgenstein found himself destroying metaphysics and God-talk. In a lecture inWittgenstein noted that: But a simile must be the simile for something. And if I can describe a fact by means of a simile I must also be able to drop the simile and to describe the facts without it.

Now in our case, as soon as we try to drop the simile and simply to state the facts which stand behind it, we find that there are no such facts. And so, what at first appeared to be simile now seems to be mere nonsense. What were once held to be conceptual or logical problems were, according to Wittgenstein, mere mistakes about language — problems created by stepping beyond the limits of language, or through semantically misguided statements that confused the logic of language, to be dissolved by an analysis of the propositions in question.

This has had decisive effects on Continental thought up to the present. For Sartre, human ontology is united in its complete subjectivity: His friend Albert Camus would find genuine absurdity in our existential state. Embracing and challenging the absurd character of the world brought about true and authentic experience.

But none of this entails that there is no significant difference between continental and analytic philosophy as they are pursued by currently active philosophers, or that the distinction between analytic and continental philosophy has lost its usefulness. Before continuing, let me point out how hard it is to make generalizations about these things. So take the following with a grain of salt. Before becoming an analytic philosopher, I was an undergraduate at the University of Turin, Italy.

In Turin, my philosophy coursework was either in continental philosophy or history of philosophy or both, with the exception of two courses in analytic philosophy of language and a seminar in analytic ethics. I studied some Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer, and plenty of continental aesthetics. This is not the kind of matter where we can draw a sharp line backed by necessary and sufficient conditions.